Saturday, May 19, 2012

Psalm 100:5

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures for ever and his faithfulness to all generations.
For God is sheer beauty, all-generous love, loyal always and ever.

It is comforting in depression to remind myself that my depressed state is not all there is to me.  I have not always felt like this and I will not always feel like this.  But God is not like me.  This verse reminds me that God is the same always.  I began these psalms because I wanted to see if my faith would withstand the hopelessness of depression.  It has.  My trust in God has not always been good, steadfast, and faithful, but it has survived.  In depression I desperately assumed this verse to be true; in health I joyfully avow this verse to be true.  The grace and mercy from my good, steadfast, and faithful God have preserved my soul through depression.  It is right to pray this psalm of thanksgiving.

Lord, you are good, steadfast, and faithful.  Teach me to cling to you always, that my trust in you may be good, steadfast, and faithful.  Thank-you for the ability to joyfully pray psalms of thanksgiving.  Amen.

Psalm 99:8

O Lord our God, you did answer them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
And then God, our God, answered them (But you were never soft on their sins).

God has answered my prayers:  I am out of depression and fully participating in life again.  The fog has lifted.  Like a child who keeps examining a skinned knee, I keep revisiting the paths that took me into and out of depression.  This psalm reminds us that God does not protect us from consequences, but he does guide us through them.  My sin was seeking glory from my activities.  I fight that sin now by seeking glory for God from my activities.  I’ve narrowed my life down considerably.  I protect my time to rest so that my work can more fully glorify God. 

Lord, you answered my prayer.  Let my healing glorify you.  Let all that I do glorify you.   Amen.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Psalm 98:1

O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!
Sing to God a brand-new song.  He’s made a world of wonders!

When I first started these devotions I thought I would be unable to write a devotion on a praise psalm. I knew the  psalms would express my depression in words.  But even these psalms of despair convinced me that my depression was clinical, an illness.  I would say, “I have a good life.  Why do I feel this way?”  In terms of treatment, answering the why is important because depression can be an illness or it can be a response to a difficult life situation.  In terms of justifying depression, this question is a dead end.  The praise psalms help me throw out the why question.  They remind me that God is God.  Period.

Lord, I am, in sickness or health, only a human being.  Let me be comforted by reading the psalms that praise you.  Let them remind me that you are God.  Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Psalm 97:11

Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people, Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil. 

Light is a noun, an adjective, and a verb.  It has a total of 22 definitions, 15 of them for the noun.  Light is something that makes vision possible.  Light is a spiritual illumination.  It’s not surprising that physical vision and mental understanding use the same noun.  We cannot see without light.  That’s why it’s so important to be up in the daytime, enjoying sunlight if not inner light.  Living in this emotional darkness is teaching this life-long night owl an appreciation for resting at night and waking in the morning.  I’ve never found peace or healing in the night, only worry and anxiety.  The sun rises and sets with or without me.  I might as well follow God’s plan by rising and setting with the sun. 

Lord, you created me to be awake in the light and rest in the darkness.  Let me follow your plan, and let sunlight lead me out of the darkness of depression.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Psalm 96:11

Let the heavens be glad and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it…
Let’s hear it from Sky, with Earth joining in, and a huge round of applause from Sea.

This psalm begins with the command, “Sing to the Lord a new song.“  By verse 11, nature is told to praise God.  But God is always glorified by his creation.  The beauty of the sky, earth, and sea gives glory to God.  Just by being, creation glorifies God.  I am God’s creation also.  My existence glorifies God.  Calling to him in my depression glorifies God.  My healing glorifies God.  Just by being, I glorify God.  It’s easy to see how God is glorified in a starry night, autumn leaves, or the ocean tide.  Witness the glory of God’s creation and remember that you are God’s creation, too.

Lord, I am your creation.  Open my heart to enjoying your creation and appreciating its goodness.  Remind me that, as your creation, I am good.  Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Psalm 95:6

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
So come, let us worship: bow before him, on your knees before God, who made us!

We used to sing this in the liturgy when I was a kid.  I went to parochial school, so I had to have my own hymnal and Bible in my desk all through school.  My mother gave them to me, my name embossed in gold, when I began first grade.  At some point, eighth grade maybe, we signed our names in each others’ hymnals, like a yearbook.  It’s been comforting to browse through the hymnal from my childhood.  It made me smile to see the autographs of my classmates.  Next, I opened the photo album.  There have been many happy times.  Focus on the celebrations of your life.

Lord, you are my Maker.  You have blessed my life with many celebrations.  Keep my mind focused on my blessings. Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Psalm 94:18

When I thought, “My foot slips,” they steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast.

I’m remembering my descent into depression, when I thought all I needed was some rest.  Could I have avoided this if I’d looked for help earlier?  There is no way to tell.  But notice when God intervenes in this verse.  After all the discussion of crying, moaning, groaning, and pleading unto the Lord, this verse tell us that God intervenes as soon as we realize we’re in trouble.  So, the first time I thought all I needed was rest, God took hold.  As comforting as it is to know that God responds to me when I ask and because I ask, this provides an even more comforting image.

Lord, you took hold and are holding me still.  Guide my thoughts to the ways you have held me up.  Let me recognize them each day.  Amen.